US approval of arms sales to Taiwan island slammed for escalating tensions
Published: Mar 03, 2023 12:24 AM
The PLA Eastern Theater Command Rocket Force launches live-fire assaults with multiple types of conventional missiles at several designated sea areas to the east of Taiwan island on August 4, 2022. Photo: IC

The PLA Eastern Theater Command Rocket Force launches live-fire assaults with multiple types of conventional missiles at several designated sea areas to the east of Taiwan island on August 4, 2022. Photo: IC

In the first US arms sale plan to the island of Taiwan in 2023, the administration of President Joe Biden has approved a possible deal for fighter jet missiles worth $619 million. The move was denounced by Chinese authorities on Thursday, with experts saying it will only escalate tensions between China and the US as well as between the Chinese mainland and the island of Taiwan.

The Biden administration formally notified Congress on Wednesday of the proposed sales of F-16 munitions and related equipment, including 100 AGM-88B High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles, 23 HARM training missiles, 200 AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles, 4 AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM Guidance Sections and 26 LAU-129 multi-purpose launchers, CNN reported on Thursday.

In response, Mao Ning, a spokesperson at China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a regular press conference on Thursday that US arms sales to China's Taiwan region seriously violate the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, especially the August 17 Communiqué.

Such sales undermine China's sovereignty and security interests, and harm China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, Mao said. "China firmly opposes this," she said.

"We urge the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, stop arms sales to and military contact with Taiwan and stop creating factors that could lead to tensions in the Taiwan Straits. China will continue to take resolute and strong measures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty and security interests," said the spokesperson.

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said in a statement on Thursday that the US should stop playing with fire on the Taiwan question and should handle it with great care.

Attempts to resist reunification by force and seek "independence" with US aid are doomed to fail, Ma said.

Song Zhongping, a Chinese mainland military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Thursday that the missiles are offensive weapons to be used on the island's F-16 fighter jets, targeting radar installations and warplanes of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).

The US is insisting on encouraging the Taiwan authorities to resist reunification by force, which is adding fuel to the fire in cross-Straits relations and pushing peace further away, Song said.

The PLA has an overwhelming military advantage over the armed forces on the island of Taiwan, analysts said.

Some 29 PLA aircraft and four PLA vessels were detected around the island of Taiwan between Wednesday and Thursday, with 21 of the aircraft entering the island's self-proclaimed southwest air defense identification zone, said the island's defense authority in a press release on Thursday.

The potential US arms sale to the island of Taiwan come at a time when the US has been hyping the possibility that China could send military aid to Russia, but in reality, it is the US and its NATO allies that have been sending military aid to Ukraine over the past year, while claiming today's Ukraine could be the island of Taiwan's tomorrow in a move to disrupt the security situation in the Asia-Pacific region.

China has not sent military aid to either Russia or Ukraine because the country has been adhering to promoting peace and political solutions through discussions. Instead, it is the US that has been fanning flames throughout the conflict with arms transfers, observers said.

US arms sales to the island of Taiwan is a whole different story as such moves violate China’s sovereignty, Song said.

The US is looking to contain China and Russia at the same time as maintaining its hegemony, Song said.

It is such a bullying act when the US is accusing China of doing something that China actually did not, and the country demonstrated what is called a thief is crying for stopping a thief, observers said.